Tulcingo Bakery

Instagram Post 7/10/2018

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One of my favorite destinations when I’m craving Mexican carbs is Tulcingo Bakery at 103-02 Roosevelt Ave in Corona, Queens. Named for the municipality in Puebla, Mexico 🇲🇽, it’s a triple threat: a market featuring the freshest ingredients for your cocina Mexicana, the go-to place for amazing carnitas, barbacoa (goat), tamales, and atoles on the weekends, and of course, an extensive panadería, the focus of today’s post.

Literally dozens of kinds of Mexican cookies, sweet breads, layer cakes and loaf cakes, and holiday and traditional breads, not to mention fruit tarts, gelatin desserts, puddings, and more are on display; just grab a tray and a pair of tongs, and let your corazón be your guide. According to Wikipedia, it’s estimated that there are between 500 and 2,000 types of breads and baked goods currently produced in Mexico. Each is distinct: the treats shown here are soft or flaky, sugary or fruity, crispy or filled with custard or cheese and the list goes on from there as you’ll see when you visit this cornucopia of confections for yourself. The perfect leisurely breakfast is one of these beauties and a cup of Café de Olla. Or better still, Mexican hot chocolate!
 
 

Claro

Instagram Post 7/7/2018

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The Spanish word claro carries many meanings from “clear” to “sure!” and among those definitions is “distinct”. Perhaps that one best describes Claro, 284 Third Ave in Gowanus, in that it’s not your typical Brooklyn Mexican restaurant. Attention to its Oaxacan roots is evident not only in their distinctive spin on the cuisine but also from the clay dinnerware to the décor. Claro’s reputation is as much about its aura as it is about the food, and although we weren’t blown away by any flavor bombs, the freshness and quality of the ingredients were evident as we enjoyed the boon of ideal weather in the charming backyard.

[1] Yellowfin Tostada – tuna marinated in a pasilla oaxaqueña sauce with avocado, orange, and chicharrónes

[2] Barbacoa Tacos – beef cheeks and garlic scapes

[3] Pork Memela – made with heritage pork ribs in a sauce of chile de arbol, topped with fresh crumbled farmer cheese

[4] Mole Negro – meltingly tender short ribs with grilled Mexican green onions and potatoes

Portions are a little on the short side; upscale to be sure, what you see here is exactly what we ordered plus a single drink for each of us – total for our party of four including tax and tip was about $190.
 
 

Tamales from Tulcingo

Instagram Post 6/29/2018

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Just the name Tulcingo, a municipality in Puebla, Mexico, evokes the region’s cuisine and is probably the reason that it’s such a popular moniker for restaurants and panaderías around these parts. And Tulcingo Bakery, 103-02 Roosevelt Ave, is one of my favorite destinations in Corona, Queens when I’m craving those flavors. First, the array of fresh baked goods is dizzying – traditional Mexican breads, sweet breads, holiday breads, cookies, cakes, tarts, and much more; watch this space for an upcoming post. It’s also a small but comprehensive market where you can purchase refrigerated and packaged ingredients for your own forays into Mexican cooking.

But today’s post concerns their weekend specials. It’s my go-to place for delicious carnitas and amazingly tender barbacoa (goat) so succulent that I’ve been known to bring friends there just to secure a pound and share it al fresco, plastic forks and abundant napkins at the ready. (More about the meats in a future post, too.)

On my last weekend visit, I tried their chicken tamales in three varieties. Not only are the fillings distinctive, the masa from which they’re made is righteously infused with the flavors of the fillings as well.

[1] Jalapeño – the white chicken meat and the masa picked up the piquant flavor of the jalapeños.
[2] Mole – rich, flavorful, a skillful blend of mole components.
[3] Rojo – red chili peppers made their presence known; the spiciest of the three.

And in case you’re wondering, they were equally delicious!
 
 

Pinas Locas Quetzaly

Instagram Post 6/5/2018

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As summer temperatures grow more intense, so does our thirst for a cold, refreshing beverage sipped as a counteroffensive to the heat. Never satisfied with plain water (yes, I know), I am ever on the prowl for noteworthy libations. On a recent trek through Passaic, NJ, we happened upon Piñas Locas Quetzaly at 80 Broadway Avenue where my quest was more than quenched by their over 32 varieties of tropical fruit drinks. Although armed with a menu replete with vivid photographs, I was nearly stymied with indecision over offerings like Diablito, Remolino, Quetzaraspado, Japones, and Vaso Loco. All of the icy juices are literally bursting with fruit and are often kicked up with chamoy (a Mexican condiment made from tangy fruit juice and spicy chilies) or other spicy embellishments. Many, like this mango and jicama Chamarindo, come equipped with a straw encrusted with chewy chili-tamarind pulp candy (a Mexican favorite).

Second, Fresa Mango, a relatively simple (by comparison) strawberry mango refresher that did the job and then some: be forewarned that it had been our intention to merely grab a quick pick-me-up before our meal, a plan thwarted by the fact that we underestimated just how substantial those drinks would be!
 
 

Miscelanea

Instagram Post 6/4/2018

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Tucked away in the East Village and down a few steps, you’ll discover Miscelanea at 63 East 4th St; they’ve been around for about three years and here’s hoping they stay around a lot longer. A tiny market cum sandwich counter, it serves the neighborhood well with all of the cocina mexicana essentials you’d expect like mole, Oaxacan cheese, fresh nixtamal tortillas and chorizo, canned necessities like huitlacoche and flor de calabaza and bottles of Mexican soft drinks in addition to chapulinas (roasted grasshoppers), sal de gusano (mezcal worm salt) and the like. The menu boasts about eight traditional sandwiches plus snacks and appealing Mexican beverages. Here’s half of a Pollo con Mole torta (shredded chicken breast, mole sauce, crema, lettuce, queso fresco and more), pickled veggies on the side.
 
 

El Atoradero

Instagram Post 10/24/2017

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I am so fortunate to live only a few minutes away from El Atoradero: definitely NOT your mamacita’s Tex-Mex joint! It’s the real deal 🇲🇽 at 708 Washington Ave, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn and everything on the menu is muy delicioso! My brunch today featured Chilaquiles and a Quesadilla Pescado; both dishes were distinctive and delectable. Always a treat!